However, Ed Cooley and the team knew better than to underestimate the former Big East-turned-ACC rival, and managed to survive the Eagle's assault for a 64-57 win, bumping PC to 8-2 for the season and giving Cooley his 100th coaching victory.
The game took off slowly at the start, with a 15-12 lead for Providence in the first 10 minutes of regulation. The Eagles and the Friars traded baskets at a slow pace during this time – the Friars would put up a layup and the Eagles would respond with a three. Providence would hit back to back 3's and Boston College would respond with the same. The largest lead of the half, in fact, was from PC at 6 points ahead of BC at 13:01.
Scoring droughts were frequent as both teams struggled offensively. During the first half PC only shot 11-30 (37%) while Boston College shot 6-22 (27%), both teams landing 4 three pointers during that time. Had it not been for Boston College's 10-12 in the first half from the charity stripe they wouldn't have even broken 20 points.
The Friars' reliable scorers all struggled as well, with Gerard Coleman only going 1-5 and Vincent Council going 2-8. Some offensive misguidance and defensive slips on Coleman's part had Cooley screaming on the sidelines "Gerard! Stop playing for Boston College!" before pulling him out of the game and putting in Chris Carter to give Coleman a chance to collect himself. If not for Bryce Cotton and LaDontae Henton stepping up offensively the game would've been going in Boston's favor.
The second half saw both teams begin to click offensively. Providence broke out of the gate with a jumper from Henton that put the Friars up 6, and the Friars held onto the lead by 4-7 points for most of the second half, responding to each basket made by Boston College with a basket of their own. However, although the defense forced shots to be missed by BC, that would not translate into baskets made by Providence, as they only scored 4 points off of turnovers in the second half and no points on fast breaks. This is an interesting stat to consider, especially given how this team works best when running the ball on the fast break and how they tried to speed up the tempo of this game, much like they did against Brown. Furthermore, a lack of contribution from the bench during this game (only six points total from the bench, all within the first half) allowed Boston College to hang on, as the Eagles' bench contributed 26 total points in the game.
Providence held the lead the entire second half and saw it's largest lead at the 5 minute mark, up by 8 with the end of a long battle in sight. However, the support from the student section helped carry them to the finish line. Gerard dunked hard on a fast break with 6:32 left, shooting life in the veins of an apathetic student section. Students stood up and cheered – and they stayed up for the remainder of the game. Suddenly the Dunk was booming with "Lets go Friars!" and "Defense!" chants sounding like war cries. The impact was impossible to ignore, and students (many of whom were freshman) got to experience what a win feels like with their involvement, with the hopes of having that momentum carry with them through winter break and into Big East play second semester.
After the game Cooley was asked about how he felt with win 100 under his belt, to which Cooley sheepishly replied "it just means you've been coaching for awhile; it's a nice milestone but it's just a number. I'm looking forward to 101, which will come Saturday against Bryant." While the answer may come as no surprise to fans, Cooley's demeanor continues to be "focus on winning" and less on "bask in past victories" - something the program needs from it's leader in pursuit of bringing the Friars back to relevancy. And with each recruit, each victory, each press conference, Cooley comes one step closer to doing that. Victory 101 will hopefully come Saturday at 12 noon against Bryant University, and you can bet that when Cooley said he'd be up until 5:00 AM studying film to prepare himself and his team for the Bulldogs, he wasn't kidding.
Friars Pluck The Eagles, 64-57
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